From Our Own Correspondent



Insight, wit and analysis as BBC correspondents, journalists and writers take a closer look at the stories behind the headlines. Presented by Kate Adie and Pascale Harter.


  • Aftermath

    24/07/2021 Duração: 28min

    The destructive power of water is often underestimated… until it’s too late. Large areas of Europe and China are still reeling from the damage left by some of their worst floods for decades. Across Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, there were over 200 deaths and billions of euros' worth of damage done. Now there are questions over whether this disaster will make voters more concerned about the effects of climate change. Although the Netherlands was least affected by the latest floods, water management is an existential threat for such a low-lying country. Anna Holligan has seen the worry – as well as the wreckage - on the ground there and in Germany. Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro was recently briefly admitted to hospital after intestinal problems made him hiccup uncontrollably. He appears to have recovered and has been out and about, talking to the media and to the public. But his political worries are not over – in fact they’re only growing more acute. Many of his former allies are beginning to peel

  • The Meaning of Home

    17/07/2021 Duração: 28min

    In the eastern Mediterranean there are far fewer refugees and migrants arriving by boat than in recent years - but the moral dilemmas of dealing with migration are still acute. In Greece, the government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has tightened its asylum laws, built new walled camps and pushed back boats at sea. Over his reporting career, Fergal Keane has followed many global waves of migrants and refugees, from their home countries, along their journeys and to their various end points. A recent visit to the Greek islands got him thinking about the big picture again. Life has been good to King Mswati III of Eswatini. He has ruled over a small, peaceable country for decades as an absolute monarch. But his historic privileges are now in question. It seems some of his people have had enough; recently protests and looting broke out, and were met with a violent response. At least twenty seven people have been killed. Shingai Nyoka has met the King in person, and talked to some of his restive subjects.

  • Cubans' patience wears thin

    15/07/2021 Duração: 29min

    The combined miseries of an economic crunch, a spike in Covid infections and simmering long-standing frustration drove hundreds of people to speak out in public last weekend. The Cuban government often brings out the crowds for mass demonstrations of revolutionary will – but it cracks down hard and fast on any shows of organised dissent. Will Grant has been sensing the pressure mount for months. The world was horrified by scenes from the pandemic in India – but there was less global attention paid to Bangladesh. Covid has utterly changed daily life and families’ fortunes there, too – especially since the country imposed its strictest lockdown yet at the start of this month. New infections and deaths are now at record levels and still rising – and there’s fear that people fleeing the restrictions in cities will be soon spread the virus in the countryside. Akbar Hossein has been considering the balance of risks. Clearing out a property after relatives have died can be a bittersweet experience, fusing nosta

  • What NATO leaves behind in Afghanistan

    10/07/2021 Duração: 29min

    This week sees the end of the NATO mission in Afghanistan. These are the last days of a 20-year military presence of British and other forces – and the growing Taliban insurgency is moving quickly into the territory they’re leaving behind. The BBC's Security Correspondent Frank Gardner made numerous reporting trips to the country , four of them in a wheelchair; he reflects on some of the more poignant moments and what the future holds. The killing of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise has convulsed a nation all too accustomed to natural and political disaster. President Moïse had been ruling by decree after elections planned for 2019 didn’t happen - sparking mass protests and accusations that he illegally stayed on past his term. Amid the political chaos, in recent months many Haitian cities have also been facing a state of near-anarchy and escalating gang violence. David Adams met and interviewed the late President and weighs up the dangers and the appeal of power in the country. Cyprus is assessing the da

  • Face to face with Abiy Ahmed

    08/07/2021 Duração: 28min

    Two weeks ago Ethiopia held a parliamentary election billed as the first truly ‘free and fair’ vote in its history – after nearly 20 years of continuous economic growth. It should have been a success story – but the election was only held in some parts of the country, as war was still raging in the Tigray region. There have been over eight months of armed conflict there as the central government moved to re-establish control; and there have been many reports of atrocities – and of hunger. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has repeatedly claimed government forces were close to victory and described the rebels as “like flour blown away by the wind”. But after a shock reversal as Tigrayan forces retook the regional capital, Mekelle. Catherine Byaruhanga wonders how much longer Mr Ahmed's confidence can hold. The South China Sea contains some of the world’s most hotly-disputed waters - with particular strife between the Philippines and China over the rights to some of its reefs and atolls. These are not just

  • Russia's Vaccine Paradoxes

    03/07/2021 Duração: 28min

    Attitudes to Covid in Russia have been very different to those in western Europe. At its government played down the risks and scoffed at ‘pandemic panic’ in the West. That changed as the virus swept across the country and its healthcare system creaked under the pressure – especially in regions far from Moscow. Russia makes its own vaccine, Sputnik V, which it has shared widely with other countries and is now promoting heavily at home. But as Sarah Rainsford explains, the drive to get people jabbed must contend with public cynicism, scepticism and fear. Everything in Hong Kong these days points to tighter control from Beijing. The draconian national security law recently introduced in the territory is being applied to stifle protests, criminalise dissent and to get its previously lively press working within stricter limits. China’s government calls this “restoring stability”. Danny Vincent has seen the process unfold. . Western Canada is still reeling from a week of record temperatures on the Pacific coast.

  • Risk of Collapse

    01/07/2021 Duração: 28min

    Although final numbers of the dead and missing have still not been tallied, the collapse of the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside, Florida may prove to be the most lethal building failure in American history. Although 37 survivors were pulled from the wreckage in the hours soon after the twelve-storey condominium tower fell, there have been very few rescues since. Now there are questions over whether warning signs of damaged concrete in the twelve-storey structure were taken seriously enough when they were reported – and how safe residents might be in other high-rise structures in Miami and beyond. Will Grant spoke to the families of some residents still unaccounted for. The results from France’s regional elections seemed to be pointing to many political currents at once. The sitting government was drubbed – some called it an “implosion” for Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron’s party La Republique en Marche. Traditional parties on the left and at the centre-right did unexpectedly well. The turnout was

  • America's Border Camps for Children

    26/06/2021 Duração: 28min

    On the United States Mexico border, the dilemmas of how to treat migrant families arriving without papers are still acute. A BBC investigation has found hundreds of undocumented children were being detained in a camp in the Texan desert that's been ridden with disease, overcrowded, and plagued by a shortage of clean clothes and medical care. Hilary Andersson has been investigating the conditions inside Fort Bliss, El Paso. Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez took a momentous decision this week: to pardon nine Catalan pro-independence leaders who were jailed for their role in a bid to break away from Spain in 2017. The pardons are meant to soothe national tensions over the issue, but as Guy Hedgecoe reports from Madrid, the reactions to them reflected some deeply-held feelings across the country. As Afghanistan’s leaders met Joseph Biden at the White House on Friday the mood in Kabul was edgy. The Taliban are still extending their reach and hold on Afghan territory, gaining new ground each day. For the Afg

  • Denmark’s deportation dilemma

    24/06/2021 Duração: 28min

    The government of Mette Frederiksen in Copenhagen is getting tough on migration - and has even started to rescind the residency status of some asylum-seekers where it deems the situation in their home countries 'safe' or at least improved. Adrienne Murray reflects on the signs of resistance she's seen on the streets, and the questions these moves raise about Danish policy. Amira Fathalla has spent the last decade monitoring every twist and turn of Libya's apparent disintegration - and reflects on whither this week's peace conference in Germany can really strengthen its current, fragile government of national unity. Is this a final moment of truth for the post-Gaddafi order and a chance to get free and fair elections organised before the end of the year? South America is currently the epicentre of the global Covid pandemic, with some of the world's highest death rates and infections with all variants spreading extremely quickly. Anxiety's particularly high in Argentina, where by some measures things are eve

  • News Management in Belarus

    19/06/2021 Duração: 28min

    The crackdown on dissent and reporting in Belarus goes on, and its authorities are keen to present their version of events to the world. At a recent press conference in Minsk, Jonah Fisher was presented with a dilemma when detained blogger and protester Roman Protasevich was brought out to speak to assembled journalists and diplomats. High in the Himalayas, Nepal is one of the world's poorest countries, with a weak and under-funded health system, particularly in rural areas. Rajini Vaidyanathan travelled there to report on the impact the pandemic is having on families across the country. Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was one of the most infamous drug cartel heads in Mexico for years - though he's ended up jailed for life in a supermax prison in the USA. Tara McKelvey covered his trial in New York in 2019, where she saw one of his former mistresses give dramatic testimony - and met his wife in the courthouse cafeteria. Two years on, the two women's fortunes have very much reversed. Bukhara is one of the most re

  • Lasting tensions in Jaffa

    17/06/2021 Duração: 28min

    Israel's new coalition has been sworn in, drawing on the support of parties from across the political spectrum. It includes the first party in an Israeli government to be drawn from Israel's 21% Arab minority - Palestinian heritage, but Israeli by citizenship. One major challenge will be dealing with the tensions sharpened by the worst outbreak of intercommunal violence for a generation. Last month, Jewish and Arab mobs took to the streets of Israel’s mixed cities - attacking passers-by, looting shops and desecrating religious sites. As Yolande Knell reports from Jaffa, these incidents opened up divisions that will be hard to heal. Iranians are due to vote in their next President - but not all of them are likely to turn out to the polls. Public apathy seems to be a growing problem; but there have also been open calls for people to boycott the election. Parham Ghobadi works for the BBC’s Persian Service from London, and has been trying to gauge voters’ opinions about their limited options. The pandemic has h

  • North Korea cracks down on outside influences

    12/06/2021 Duração: 28min

    Recent reports from Pyongyang have hinted at an intensified effort to root out foreign fashion, slang and media in North Korea. Its regime has repeatedly punished people who smuggle in DVDs of South Korean TV and film dramas, but the penalties are now even harsher. Laura Bicker reports from Seoul on the risks for North Koreans who try to break their isolation, whether by consuming forbidden culture or even escaping the country themselves. As Joe Biden meets other world leaders at the G7 summit in Cornwall, there are still many Americans who aren't yet convinced he is the legitimate President of the United States. Gabriel Gatehouse was recently given unusual insight into this mindset. Press freedom in Pakistan is a touchy issue - and more so now after a string of incidents where reporters have been physically attacked. Secunder Kermani analyses where the 'red lines' lie for broadcast media, and the allegations that the country's security services have been directly pressuring journalists. Turkey's Sea of Ma

  • Thailand's youth protest movement stalls

    10/06/2021 Duração: 28min

    Not long ago, a wave of unprecedented public protests in Thailand over royal privileges and youth concerns made some Thais feel they were on the brink of change. Now the picture is very different: many of the movement's leading figures are in jail or awaiting trial and their dreams seem to have been deferred. Jonathan Head considers what the youth protest movement has achieved, and what sort of a precedent its fate sets for others in Southeast Asia - most notably for Myanmar. Colombia is currently living through its own wave of street protests - over everything from tax policy to austerity, job opportunities to racism. Demonstrators and police have faced off in cities across the country, sometimes with lethal results. Daniel Pardo reports from Cali, one of the focal points of the the nationwide 'resistance' - and hears worries that the country's sliding back into division. In the Czech Republic, moves to abolish the rules dictating the correct form for women's surnames are gaining ground. From Praque, Rob C

  • A new coalition in Israel's Knesset

    05/06/2021 Duração: 28min

    Benjamin Netanyahu has outsmarted many attempts to drive him from power - but a new alliance is manoeuvring to unseat him. Tom Bateman reports from Jerusalem on the unusual array of parties now teaming up in coalition - ranging from right-wing Jewish nationalists to a religious party for Muslim Israelis of Palestinian heritage. Sarah Rainsford has reported on several waves of repression in Belarus for the BBC. But her most recent visit to Minsk revealed a pall of fear settling over the country's news media, dissidents and protesters. The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently visited Costa Rica to talk migration and development aid with the foreign ministers of Central America. What changes in policy is the Biden administration considering - and what does it have to offer the region to deter people from trying to make it to the Mexico/US border? Will Grant was in San Jose to see what was on the table. Japan is a nation famous for its team spirit, its hospitality, and its love of a big event. But as

  • Somaliland's can-do spirit

    03/06/2021 Duração: 28min

    Somaliland claims to be an independent republic, though it is not internationally recognised and Somalia still claims the territory. It issues passports, has its own army, flag and president - and this week it held long-delayed elections. Mary Harper, a regular visitor, explains what the polls meant to Somaliland's people - especially some of its most marginalised. This weekend, Peruvian voters have to choose between two candidates for the Presidency - after a fragmented and confusing first round, the contest is now a neck-and-neck race between Pedro Castillo and Keiko Fujimori. In Lima, Dan Collyns senses the mood polarising - and hears how heated the rhetoric has become. Iraq's Jewish community was once hundreds of thousands strong - but it's been whittled away drastically since the 1940s by persecution, emigration and ageing. Lizzie Porter has witnessed how Jewish sites across the country have changed, and how many are crumbling into disuse and neglect. But there are also people working to preserve this un

  • Zuma on Trial

    29/05/2021 Duração: 28min

    Former President Jacob Zuma's long-delayed fraud trial saw a surge in interest this week as the accused arrived to plead not guilty to all charges. Andrew Harding has been following this intricate case for years and was in court in Pietermaritzburg. The worst of the pandemic may have passed in India's megacities, but the virus is still spreading fast in rural areas - and leaving lasting grief and trauma across the country. Rajini Vaidyanathan reflects from Delhi on the sadness now permeating all levels of society. Chinese consumers have been knocking back Australian wine with gusto in recent years, even as political relations between Beijing and Canberra have grown ever more strained. But the export boom might not last. Shaimaa Khalil reports from the Barossa Valley in South Australia, where they're bracing for the impact of new Chinese tariffs on imports. In Canada, a Catholic archdiocese has been found liable for damages to be awarded to several survivors of physical and sexual abuse in a Church-run orph

  • Caught in the crossfire along the Thailand/Myanmar border

    27/05/2021 Duração: 28min

    : Laura Bicker reports from a remote corner of Thailand’s border with Myanmar, where villagers’ lives are being disrupted as the Burmese military pursues insurgent groups. Since the generals' takeover in February, hundreds of people have died in Myanmar's cities after mass protests. In rural areas, several rebel militias – most formed by ethnic minorities – which have been resisting the military for decades are renewing their fight. Last weekend the diversion of a Ryanair flight to Minsk in Belarus – though it was meant to be going to Lithuania – caused generalised outrage. After an alleged bomb threat, the plane had to land straight away. But it seems the real target on board was a young critic of the Belarusian government, James Landale analyses the shock felt across Europe as other countries judge how to respond. After Idriss Deby, Chad's longtime head of state, was reportedly killed in battle in April, many hoped his death might offer a chance to hold free and fair elections. Instead Mr Déby’s son, a gen

  • The bravery and anger of Afghanistan's schoolgirls

    22/05/2021 Duração: 28min

    The attack on a Kabul school on May 8th heightened fears about what will happen when US and NATO troops fully withdraw from the country. More than 80 people were killed – most of them schoolgirls. It was in an area west of the city, home to many from the minority Hazara community, often targeted for attack. Lyse Doucet talked to some of the survivors and heard of their anger at the failure to protect them. In East Jerusalem, a battle over property has channelled long-held tensions and unresolved grievances. In the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, protestors have been trying to stop Israel evicting eight Palestinian families. Israel’s Supreme Court has delayed a hearing on the evictions, but the case, along with complaints of heavy-handed policing of the Al Aqsa compound during Ramadan, ignited the recent round of violence in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel. Paul Adams visited the streets at the heart of the dispute. Indonesia's capital Jakarta is one of the world’s most polluted cities. Now some of its residents h

  • A change of pace in the White House

    20/05/2021 Duração: 28min

    President Biden’s administration has plenty to do – and has gone about doing it at a less hectic pace than its predecessor. The Democrats say their plans are all about ‘rebuilding America’ with proposals for huge infrastructure projects as well as social care reform. Senior Republicans have called it “the most socialist agenda” Congress has ever voted on. Anthony Zurcher has been feeling a different mood in DC. The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno Karabakh last year cost Armenia dear, in territory and lives. A truce deal, backed by Russia, was meant to get all prisoners of war back home. But Armenia says around 200 of its citizens are still in captivity. Rayhan Demytrie reports. Nick Thorpe, the BBC’s correspondent in Budapest, is no stranger to the River Danube. He’s travelled its length twice, has written a book and made a series of documentary films on it. But this week, he met his match - a hardy couple of adventurers who've been paddling upstream for weeks, only leaving the water to

  • A Spiral of Violence

    15/05/2021 Duração: 28min

    As missiles have rained down on Gaza and on Israel, violence at street level has also been at its worst for years. There have been clashes between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel within Israel’s own borders. There have been confrontations between security forces and Palestinians in the West Bank. On a far greater scale, Gaza has been under heavy rocket fire as the Israeli Defence Forces struck back against what they identify as control centres for Hamas. Jeremy Bowen weighs up the damage. In Brazil, Congress is conducting an inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic. But the president still has keen backers, who admire his energy and instinct for confrontation. Mark Lowen is just back from Brazil and reflects on Jair Bolsonaro's playbook - and its echoes of another leader whose tactics he knows well. The number of boats carrying migrants keen to reach the shores of Europe is on the rise again. Enforcement is stricter across the Mediterranean so other routes are getting busier. But the journe

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